We Do Not Pretend Santa is Real: Let Me Explain

We Do Not Pretend Santa Is RealWe do not pretend Santa is real (read about it here), but we celebrate Christmas. We do not just celebrate it actually, we revel in it (read about it here). Some people cannot reconcile this. They seem to think that if Santa is not accepted as a living, breathing person in our home we must be a bunch of scrooges. This could not be further from the truth. Let me explain.

My family and I love Christmas. Like, love it. Our tree goes up the day after Halloween, and Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” streams continually (when Pandora’s Christmas channel doesn’t waft through our home).

We attend parades, drive around looking at Christmas lights, watch movies and the classic Christmas shows, go out for fancy dinners at Holiday decked restaurants, and buy our children lots of gifts. We pack lunches for the homeless and collect food for pet shelters. We are big into the Christmas Spirit- however you define it.

Every year we sing the Santa songs and tell the tales. We just do not pretend that Santa is real. Just like we do not pretend Elsa, Elmo, Harry, or Goldilocks are real.

Some believe that we do not pretend Santa is real because we do not want our children to use their imagination. The reality is quite the opposite (read about that here).

Others think that we are part of the “War On Christmas” (honestly, if I could insert an eye roll here, I would).  Treating Santa like all of the other awesome fictional characters we love has nothing to do with a “war” of any kind.

Santa Vs. The Children

It does make me sad that so many children grow up believing that there is someone else determining whether or not they are worthy of presents. It does bother me that fellow humans believe they are being watched all the time. I wish it were not so that kids are learning that their worth is determined by someone else (who “knows” if they are naughty or nice). I do wish little hearts are not broken with the threat of coal in the stocking and Santa not coming this year.

All of this has little to do with a  fictional character though, and everything to do with a topic we discuss frequently here: childism. (Not familiar? Read about it here).

Though We Do Not Pretend Santa is Real, I am not anti- Santa

While I wish children were treated better, I am not anti-Santa. I know that not all parents who tell their kids Santa is real use it threateningly. I know there are a lot of parents who wish they had never “gotten into the Santa lie”. I know there are parents who would not give up the “Santa is Real” line for the world.

None of that is what I am talking about, though. I share my thoughts on Santa to set the record straight. When we say things like “Santa might be real. I mean, I’ve never been to the North Pole.” or “Kids are only little for such a short time- don’t rob them of their childhood!!!!!!” we sound like ignorant lunatics.

If you want to tell your child that Santa is real, who am I to oppose that? (I never have). What I do oppose is the total ignorance surrounding the fact that many, many families do not pretend Santa is real and still celebrate a magical, fantastical Christmas. Our children have huge imaginations, childhoods filled with wonder, and all the holly jolliness that comes with the season.

I hope that after reading some of these posts you can see that for many of us Santa has little to do with the magic of Christmas, and that in fact, the season can be filled with far more magic and wonder without pretending he is real.




3 Replies to “We Do Not Pretend Santa is Real: Let Me Explain”

  1. This year we have spent lots of time answering our 4 year olds question about santa and easter bunny along with lots of questions about tv and book characters.
    The way we explained it was that its a fun game/story that we like to play as part of Christmas. Part of his easter present was a bunny suit and he spent months afterwards pretending to be the easter bunny and next year he wants to put out all the easter eggs for our family.
    He also knows Santa isn’t real but would like to play the game of pretend and sit on the shop Santa’s lap (which he has never done before) and have mummy and daddy put presents in his Santa sack once he is asleep (which is also helpful as he will be spending Christmas with his cousins who do believe in Santa).

  2. Thank you so much for posting these posts. My husband and I decided this year that we wouldn’t pretend that Father Christmas is real. My daughter will be 22 months this Christmas, so it seemed like the best time. I recently shared with some of my friends that we wouldn’t be pretending he is real and they did not take it well to say the least. Your posts have helped me to clarify my thought process, so that hopefully I can explain why more clearly in the future.

    • Amii-

      We experienced the same thing. People thought we were nuts when we said we were not pretending Santa was real. My son was right around the same age as your daughter when I started thinking about it, I think.

      One thing I wish I had known then (and not just about Santa) is that it does not matter if anyone understands why we make our choices. While personally I think it’s good to listen to feedback in case there is truth to something being said to us, that’s different than feeling the need to justify our choices.

      I also wish I had known how many people still celebrate Christmas without pretending Santa is real- from devout Christians to Atheists. It has been so interesting getting to learn more about this.

      Good luck on your journey- I hope you will keep checking in to let us know how it’s going 🙂